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HP's purchase of Palm could lead to WebOS tablets, netbooks

post #1 of 74
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In addition to entering the smartphone market against the iPhone, HP's acquisition of handset maker Palm could allow the PC maker to expand the WebOS mobile platform to tablets and netbooks to compete with Apple's iPad.

During a conference call about HP's acquisition of Palm Wednesday, Todd Bradley, executive VP of HP's Personal Systems Group, said that there are "a lot of opportunities" with the purchase. Namely, he said, HP could use the WebOS mobile operating system as a touchscreen interface for new hardware such as a tablet or netbook.

Palm CEO Jon Rubinstein and Brian Humphries, HP's senior VP of Strategy and Corporate Development, spoke with Joshua Topolsky of Engadget Wednesday, and revealed that HP plans to "double down on WebOS," which is considered the "prized asset" of the acquisition. The two reportedly mentioned the scalability of WebOS, implying that HP plans to bring the platform to multiple hardware form factors. HP even said it has already tested WebOS for its scalability.

In addition, Rubinstein said he believes the financial backing of HP will give Palm the opportunity to compete directly with mobile rivals Apple, Google and Microsoft. "I don't think HP would do this unless they were willing to make the kind of investment necessary to win," he said.

Palm turned heads in early 2009, when it surprised the tech industry by introducing the Pre smartphone and its brand new WebOS. The Pre and its new operating system were released in June 2009, and were met with mostly positive reviews, particularly for its card-flipping multitasking.

Earlier this year, as the tech industry was buzzing over Apple's then-unannounced iPad, HP introduced its forthcoming "slate PC" at the Consumer Electronics Show. That multitouch device, scheduled for release later this year, runs on Microsoft's full-fledged Windows 7 operating system.

HP revealed on Wednesday that it will acquire Palm for $1.2 billion. The struggling smartphone maker had sought a buyer in recent weeks as the company was set back significantly by poor device sales.

In February, Palm's stock plummeted after the handset maker decreased its third-quarter projections dramatically, citing lower-than expected demand for its smartphones. At the time, Palm reduced its sales forecast from between $1.6 billion and $1.8 billion to between $285 million and $310 million.

Palm's struggles came as the company failed to compete with Apple's iPhone, which has continued to produce record quarters with escalating international sales. Palm's Pre was originally limited to Sprint in 2009, but expanded to Verizon in 2010 with the Pre Plus and Pixi Plus. Earlier this year, Palm announced plans to bring Web OS devices to AT&T's network as well.

In addition to the WebOS platform, HP's purchase of Palm also gives the PC maker an entrance into the smartphone market, where rival Dell has planned a number of new devices. Dell's Android-powered Aero smartphone will be released on the AT&T network in the U.S. soon.
post #2 of 74
HP doesn't have the managerial will to turn webOS into a BDO(BIG DADDY OS). And that is what it will take to be on even a netbook with any real functionality. Also, there is the issue of compatibility with other platforms.
Give me a break!!!!!!!!!
Speculate until the cows come home!!!!!!
post #3 of 74
HP lacks the talent, vision and drive to exploit this opportunity fully.
post #4 of 74
I would not be the first one to underestimate CEO Hurd. He turned around HP, grabbed PC market share back from Dell, and HP profitable again.

We will just have to wait and see.
post #5 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

HP lacks the talent, vision and drive to exploit this opportunity fully.

HP cannot be Microsoft little boy forever it has as much potential as Microsoft.
Sony were is your head?

In Europe SONY is much more known than Apple or Microsoft, but they are stuck i do not know where, and i am sure Sony does not know either.
post #6 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Quadra 610 View Post

HP lacks the talent, vision and drive to exploit this opportunity fully.

My guess is that there are individuals within hp who have these things, but not senior management.
post #7 of 74
HP is doomed.
post #8 of 74
A WebOS netbook just seems like a bad idea, unless they significantly enhance it beyond just being what it is now, make it much less touch dependent, but the idea of dumping Win7 and producing WebOS tablets ought to cause some serious anguish in Redmond.
post #9 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by chronster View Post

HP is doomed.

Yes, unlike Apple
post #10 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

A WebOS netbook just seems like a bad idea, unless they significantly enhance it beyond just being what it is now, make it much less touch dependent, but the idea of dumping Win7 and producing WebOS tablets ought to cause some serious anguish in Redmond.

HP just hasn't developed the ecosystem to make this a success. Google has search & Google Docs among other thing. Apple has OS X iPods ipads & more. HP will have to acquire more companies and start taking more risks if they want to succeed.
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post #11 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ochyming;

HP cannot be Microsoft little boy forever it has as much potential as Microsoft.
Sony were is your head?

In Europe SONY is much more known than Apple or Microsoft, but they are stuck i do not know where, and i am sure Sony does not know either.

This is a good move by HP. It's always better to control the hardware and software. It's funny how many are now choosing this method instead of a ton of manufacturers under one OS.

Sony's problem is that they're lousy at making software. Even if they bought WebOS, I'm not too sure they would even know what to do with it.
post #12 of 74
I thought HP was M$'s best pal? Sure M$ must not like HP doing Palm OS...
post #13 of 74
I agree - this is a good move by HP. It will take time, of course, and Apple, Google, and Microsoft won't be holding still in the interim. But over time, it could at least get HP's paddle in the water.

The most interesting aspect of this is that they'll need to pretty much abandon Microsoft to do this, which will actually help Apple and Google in the near term.

Apple has REALLY stirred up the ant hill!
post #14 of 74
I find it interesting that HP keeps buying failing companies. Did they not learn from Compaq?
post #15 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

HP just hasn't developed the ecosystem to make this a success. Google has search & Google Docs among other thing. Apple has OS X iPods ipads & more. HP will have to acquire more companies and start taking more risks if they want to succeed.

I think it would succeed simply because it's an alternate to Windows. There are many who absolutely adore Windows, then there are others who would rather place an appendage in a meat grinder than have to live with anything attached to MS.

Palm has a loyal base as does HP. Throw some innovation into it and price the thing cheap enough and they may fly off the shelves. Heck, I'd buy one to play with.

Ecosystem? Who needs a stinking ecosystem? Just kidding! I suspect it will connect wirelessly with HP printers, hard drives, and cameras - those are fantastic selling points for a lot of people. Throw in Palm's wireless charging pad and the ability to sync wirelessly with your computer, and we have a new ball game, captain.
post #16 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by xebeche View Post

I find it interesting that HP keeps buying failing companies. Did they not learn from Compaq?

Whose value included Digital and Tandem ... for their cash cow, long-term corporate and government maintenance renewal contracts (not synergistic, nor innovative, just pillaging to improve cash flow).
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post #17 of 74
Looks like the HP Windows 7 based Slate may never see the light of day


I say good. HP needs to grow a pair and stop hanging on Microsoft's nads.
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post #18 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Looks like the HP Windows 7 based Slate may never see the light of day


I say good. HP needs to grow a pair and stop hanging on Microsoft's nads.

Thanks for sharing.... And I agree with you.
post #19 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

Thanks for sharing.... And I agree with you.

I worked solely around HP product lines for the last 4 years. I must say that I'm glad that HP stepped up and decided to get in the game. Yes it's going to strain their relationship with Microsoft but this mobile market is too lucrative to sit on the sidelines.

HP should make some strategic acquisitions in support of this. Yes ..I mean hit CTRL C and develop an HP iLife.

They've got Snapfish for photography and some other stuff they can piece together. Give everything a nice unified UI and tie it in with WebOS as much as possible.
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post #20 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by str1f3 View Post

This is a good move by HP. It's always better to control the hardware and software. It's funny how many are now choosing this method instead of a ton of manufacturers under one OS.

Sony's problem is that they're lousy at making software. Even if they bought WebOS, I'm not too sure they would even know what to do with it.

I agree with you. HP still has a lot of talent and money. If they can leave the Palm 'division' alone, there could be some surprises. But that's a big if.
post #21 of 74
Many of the Palm Engineers are from Apple and many of them also worked for Be Inc. on the BeOS.

These guys and gals are very bright and experienced engineers and they have taste when it comes to user interfaces. Be Inc. came out with some nice tablets with very nice UIs running the BeOS in the early '90s.

I don't think HP + Palm can beat the iPad but they will sure give iPad a run for its money.
They will keep Apple on it's toes and that's a good thing.

Time will tell.
post #22 of 74
Smart move by HP. I really think it is best for them to get rid of Windows 7 Slate and replace it with WebOS. At least then Apple will have some competition.
post #23 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I worked solely around HP product lines for the last 4 years. I must say that I'm glad that HP stepped up and decided to get in the game. Yes it's going to strain their relationship with Microsoft but this mobile market is too lucrative to sit on the sidelines.

HP should make some strategic acquisitions in support of this. Yes ..I mean hit CTRL C and develop an HP iLife.

They've got Snapfish for photography and some other stuff they can piece together. Give everything a nice unified UI and tie it in with WebOS as much as possible.

Amazing how Apple hardware and software integration approach seems to be the best solution.
post #24 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

HP just hasn't developed the ecosystem to make this a success. Google has search & Google Docs among other thing. Apple has OS X iPods ipads & more. HP will have to acquire more companies and start taking more risks if they want to succeed.

Maybe, but I was thinking more along the lines of it being a bit of a blow to Microsoft to have a major hardware vendor desert them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Postulant View Post

I think it would succeed simply because it's an alternate to Windows. There are many who absolutely adore Windows, then there are others who would rather place an appendage in a meat grinder than have to live with anything attached to MS...

Well, yes but there are other alternatives, available or expected soon. iPad, Android tablets, Chrome tablets... so, it's not like there aren't already alternatives to Microsoft/Win7. HP inherit a small ecosystem of WebOS developers, and a small app store, but that's about it. It's absolutely not a slam dunk that they succeed, and a lot of people who were exited about WebOS because it was from Palm might lose some of that enthusiasm now that it's with HP. A few people would buy it because it's WebOS, and few others because it's from HP (I'm sure they have their fans), but they need to be able to offer something compelling, both in term of an ecosystem (it won't be syncing with iTunes) and in terms of software, to make it a success.
post #25 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by xebeche View Post

I find it interesting that HP keeps buying failing companies. Did they not learn from Compaq?

HP didn't buy Compaq, it was a merger.

Quote:
Originally Posted by CurtisEMayle View Post

Whose value included Digital and Cray ... for their cash cow, long-term corporate and government maintenance renewal contracts (not synergistic, nor innovative, just pillaging to improve cash flow).

Tandam, not Cray. Cray was bought by SGI.
post #26 of 74
In 3 yrs or so, we will find out who the winners and losers in this debacle will be. HP cannot make or market a smartphone.
WebOS may be good, but it will be bad when it gets in HP hands. These are the same guys that bought Compac a few years ago and destroyed it.

Apple I will predict will gain from this. Palm will cease to be a brand as HP will soon change it.
post #27 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by swtchdtomak View Post

HP didn't buy Compaq, it was a merger.



Tandam, not Cray. Cray was bought by SGI.

Thanks, you're absolutely correct.
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post #28 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Maybe, but I was thinking more along the lines of it being a bit of a blow to Microsoft to have a major hardware vendor desert them.

HP explicitly said they remain an MS mobile partner... this is just one bet amongst many

Quote:
Originally Posted by anonymouse View Post

Well, yes but there are other alternatives, available or expected soon. iPad, Android tablets, Chrome tablets... so, it's not like there aren't already alternatives to Microsoft/Win7. HP inherit a small ecosystem of WebOS developers, and a small app store, but that's about it. It's absolutely not a slam dunk that they succeed, and a lot of people who were exited about WebOS because it was from Palm might lose some of that enthusiasm now that it's with HP. A few people would buy it because it's WebOS, and few others because it's from HP (I'm sure they have their fans), but they need to be able to offer something compelling, both in term of an ecosystem (it won't be syncing with iTunes) and in terms of software, to make it a success.

+1 - a couple of million WebOS fans cannot drive a relevant market share or profitable scale
post #29 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by OC4Theo View Post

In 3 yrs or so, we will find out who the winners and losers in this debacle will be. HP cannot make or market a smartphone.
WebOS may be good, but it will be bad when it gets in HP hands. These are the same guys that bought Compac a few years ago and destroyed it.

Apple I will predict will gain from this. Palm will cease to be a brand as HP will soon change it.

It won't take 3 years - Palm's body/corpse will have been cremated or feted within 18 months knowing HP's history of "make it" or "can it".
post #30 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by swtchdtomak View Post

HP didn't buy Compaq, it was a merger.

It was an acquisition. Compaq was not a basket case like Palm but it was initiated, justified and managed by HP. The results speak for themselves - Compaq is nothing but a bargain basement brand for HP now. Check out headlines of the time...

http://www.pcworld.com/article/97944...es_compaq.html
post #31 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capnbob View Post

It won't take 3 years - Palm's body/corpse will have been cremated or feted within 18 months knowing HP's history of "make it" or "can it".

Probably true but the fact HP would prefer this to anything M$ has to offer speaks volumes.
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post #32 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

Looks like the HP Windows 7 based Slate may never see the light of day


I say good. HP needs to grow a pair and stop hanging on Microsoft's nads.

That is a smart, bold, and surprising move! It is exactly how HP should be looking at the future.

But... I still don't believe they have the chutzpah to stick with the plan. They do have the one thing that Palm really lacked-- money-- but they need to generate one hell of a lot of interest in Palm's phones (mad advertising push) immediately to keep WebOS from dying. I don't know how they can do that legally before the acquisition is complete. If they lose developers from WebOS, they will have to start from scratch in a year or so.

Palm was spending about $400MM a year on operations. If that gets doubled, which is about what it would take to make WebOS viable, I have trouble believing Mark Hurd can make it look like a solid long-term investment.
post #33 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by swtchdtomak View Post

HP didn't buy Compaq, it was a merger.

Pure semantics. Hp was larger and while they technically "merged" it subordinated Compaq-ie. made them their b*^ch. Within a year, two at most, what was the essence of Compaq no longer really existed. Don't get me wrong I despised Compaq and felt Hp was making a huge mistake merging, buying, whatever with them.
Remember the Daimler-Chrysler merger of equals?
In a nut shell Chrysler was absorbed and fully subsumed by Daimler. Although Chrysler gave Daimler indigestion and eventually spit them back up.
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post #34 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Capnbob View Post

It was an acquisition. Compaq was not a basket case like Palm but it was initiated, justified and managed by HP. The results speak for themselves - Compaq is nothing but a bargain basement brand for HP now. Check out headlines of the time...

It's been referred to as both, sometimes in the same report. But, your point is well-taken.
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post #35 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by xebeche View Post

I find it interesting that HP keeps buying failing companies. Did they not learn from Compaq?

Quote:
Originally Posted by swtchdtomak View Post

HP didn't buy Compaq, it was a merger.

HP did buy Compaq. 'Merger' is a bit of a meaningless term, although widely thrown around.

In a so-called 'merger' there is almost always an acquirer and a target. In this instance, HP was the acquirer, and Compaq the target. (Ask Carly Fiorina).

The early verdict was that it was a disaster. But many people would now reasonably re-evaluate that original assessment, and agree that Compaq turned out to be quite a sensible acquisition for HP, overall.
post #36 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigdaddyp View Post

Pure semantics. Hp was larger and while they technically "merged" it subordinated Compaq-ie. made them their b*^ch. Within a year, two at most, what was the essence of Compaq no longer really existed. Don't get me wrong I despised Compaq and felt Hp was making a huge mistake merging, buying, whatever with them.
Remember the Daimler-Chrysler merger of equals?
In a nut shell Chrysler was absorbed and fully subsumed by Daimler. Although Chrysler gave Daimler indigestion and eventually spit them back up.

You are right. (Except for the b*^ch part.)
post #37 of 74
This was the best news I've read all day.

HTC buying Palm would have been fine, but I like this even better. Just beef up the HW that the WebOS uses (and increase the battery life), and I'll have something to replace my Pre Plus in a few years, and who knows what in between (I'm not sold on tablets as anything viable, but a WebOS tablet would be neat to see).
post #38 of 74
Palm was innovative. If HP can just provide the money and let Palm create things that HP can use and market, then it will be a great acquisition.

The future of computing is in iPad like devices. I think with more of them, the smart phone trend might reverse. People will buy less sophisticated phones and buy more sophisticated tablets for all of their fun and business tasks. The smart telephone will revert to a telephone.
post #39 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by Smallwheels View Post

Palm was innovative. If HP can just provide the money and let Palm create things that HP can use and market, then it will be a great acquisition.
....

I'm unfamiliar with the current HP management, so as anantksundaram said earlier, "That's a big if."
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post #40 of 74
Quote:
Originally Posted by hmurchison View Post

I worked solely around HP product lines for the last 4 years. I must say that I'm glad that HP stepped up and decided to get in the game. Yes it's going to strain their relationship with Microsoft but this mobile market is too lucrative to sit on the sidelines.

HP should make some strategic acquisitions in support of this. Yes ..I mean hit CTRL C and develop an HP iLife.

They've got Snapfish for photography and some other stuff they can piece together. Give everything a nice unified UI and tie it in with WebOS as much as possible.

Completely agree. The mobile computing market is still morphing and H-P is wise to make a bold move at this juncture.

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